War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0861 Chapter XVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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General Tilghman, Major Gilmer, and about 80 men taken prisoners; balance of force fell back to Fort Donelson, on Cumberland River.

A large increase of force to defend this [State] from Cumberland Gap to Columbus is an absolute and imperative necessity. If not successfully defended the injury is irreparable.


BOWLING GREEN, KY., February 7, 1862.

General POLK:

[You] will destroy the railroad bridges from Paris to Humboldt as far as practicable.



BOWLING GREEN, KY., February 7, 1862.


At a meeting held to-day at my quarters (Covington House) by Generals Johnston Hardee, and myself (Colonel Mackall being present part of the time) it was determined that, Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, having fallen yesterday into the hands of the enemy, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, not being long tenable, preparations should at once be made for the removal of this army to Nashville, in rear of the Cumberland River, a strong point some miles below that city being fortified forthwith, to defend the river from the passage of gunboats and transports.

The troops at present at Clarksville should cross over to the south side of that river, leaving only a sufficient force in that town to protect the manufactories and other property, in the saving of which the Confederate Government is interested.

From Nashville, should any further retrograde movement become necessary, it will be made to Stevenson, and thence according to circumstances.

It was also determined that the possession of the Tennessee River by the enemy, resulting from the fall of Fort Henry, separates the army at Bowling Green from the one at Columbus, Ky., which must henceforth act independently of each other until they can again be brought together, the first one having for object the defense of the State of Tennessee, along its line of operation, as already stated; and the other one of that part of the State lying between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi. But as the possession of the former river by the enemy renders the lines of communication of the army at Columbus liable to be cut off at any time from the Tennessee River as a base by an overpowering force of the enemy rapidly concentrated from various points on the Ohio, it becomes necessary, to prevent such a calamity, that the main body of that army should fall back to Humboldt; and thence; if necessary, to Grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either point, and still have line of retreat to the latter place or to Grand, Miss., and, if necessary, to Jackson, Miss.

At Columbus, Ky., will be left only a sufficient garrison for the defense of the works there, assisted by Hollins' gunboats, for the purpose of making a desperate defense of the river at that point. A sufficient number of transports will be kept near that place for the removal of the